Free: October 2010 Archives
My Autumn Stars Sock pattern for Fabric.com was firstly inspired by the yarn. I often find myself cruising the Fabric.com website looking for project ideas and when I saw this Kaffe Fassett Designer line I was curious. I loved the super wash but I fell head-over-heels (pun apurpose) for this colorway. It embodied all fall to me in its jewel tones variegated throughout with a heavy emphasis on red. As I knit the Regia into my sock pattern it only served to prove me right in my choice. The feel is amazing; my foot thanked me every time I tried on the sock to adjust the fit and gauge the pattern.
This pattern is secondly inspired by my first date with my husband. It was a fall evening much like we are experiencing now in Georgia and we were in college. Earlier in the day my Astronomy professor encouraged us to watch that evening's meteor shower. My husband and I later spent our first hours getting to know each other, not in a nosy restaurant or a dark theater, but under the autumn stars. The cascading eyelet lace pattern that I chose reminds me of that night.
This is a surprisingly simple pattern that can be memorized for enjoyable movie watching or conversations by the fire. A short row toe and heel make for a comfy fit and no seaming. I have also incorporated Jen's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off to ensure a comfy, easy fit throughout the whole sock. The only notions you will need are a tapestry needle, stitch markers and a measuring tape. This toe up sock pattern is quick and great for last minute gifts or holiday stocking stuffers (I am done with the puns, I think...)
For more project info check out my Autumn Stars Sock Project page on Ravelry
Since we're so close to Halloween weekend, I wanted to close out with an all-too-familiar last-minute scenario:
We've all been there. You find out hours before a party that it's a costume affair. Your child or spouse promised someone that you could absolutely make them a cape for that play... and forgot to tell you until the dress rehearsal. Or, life got busy and robbed you of costume prep time before Halloween.
Fear not! Even when you're in a crunch, you can churn out a quick costume piece that will earn you awed gazes from your fans and admirers. I can usually bang one of these out in about 90 minutes, which includes interruptions from my pets and my beloved. Once you have the construction down, you can really churn them out at a rapid pace.
What you need for this is a sizable piece of fabric -- I grabbed a piece of flocked taffeta I had left over from a costume several years ago that added up to about three yards. You want enough that you can cut 2 decent-sized squares out of it.
Ready, set, go!
1. Cut your fabric into 2 squares, one larger than the other. You will likely want to cut them as large as you possibly can. Mine are 40"x40" and 60"x60"
Note: for my larger square I had to piece it from 2 pieces which were 60"x30" so if you don't have a full square, you might be able to creatively build one.
2. Fold your squares in half, then in half again along the first fold to make smaller squares.
3. Locate the corner of the first square where both folds pivot. This would be the center of the original piece of fabric if you were to unfold it.
4. Use a yardstick to measure the side of your square, then pivot the yardstick at the fold point described above and mark that same distance from one corner of your folded square to the other side, so you create an arc of marks.
5. Repeat the process above using a radius of 3" -- this will create the neck circle.
6. Cut both of the arcs your created with your marks. You should have a circle with a hole in the center of it.
7. Repeat steps above for your second square of fabric, marking the radii of the full length and neck circle and cutting along both lines.
8. You will need to cut along one fold of your fabric to create an opening in the circle.
9. If desired, finish straight edges and large lower arc of your circle. I used a quick and dirty rolled hem. For non-fraying fabrics or for costumes where a rough edge is acceptable, you could even skip this step.
10. Lay smaller circle on top of larger circle, right sides down and matching up neck edge.
11. Stitch circles together along neck edge.
12. Flip smaller circle out to the right side.
13. Set a piece of ribbon between the two cape layers and machine at front edge of both sides of cape. This both attaches the ribbon and hides the neck seam.
14. Press if you wish. Your 2-layer cape is done! Go trick-or-Treating! If you want to go fancy schmancy, you can always add a bit of trim for extra sparkle!
As you may have heard around the school yard, tulle can be a little persnickety to work with. Think of it like approaching a feral animal -- you want to be confident and in charge, but keenly aware that of its unpredictable nature.
Here's how I make a quick, adjustable tutu:
- Cut a length of scrap ribbon 5-7" larger than the intended wearer's waist. (This will not show on the finished product.)
- Cut a piece of tulle 4-5x longer than the your ribbon, and twice the length you want the tutu to be. 5x will give you more volume, of course, but if you need to economize, 4x works, too! My pieces are 5 yards long and 54" wide.
- Cut as many pieces of tulle as you want layers in your tutu. 2 works but can be a little anemic. 3 is better, and 4 gives you pretty good opacity, depending on the color you use.
- Fold your tulle in half lengthwise so each piece is 4-5x the waist ribbon length and the desired length of the tutu, double layered.
(I like to use our 54" tulle because I can leave the fold in it just as it comes, there's a good color range, and the length is good for an adult tutu. If you want to take a shortcut and don't mind wasting a little bit, you can do the same for a child, maintaining the center fold and just trimming the length.)
Once all your layers are cut...
-Mark the center and quarter points on your ribbon.
-Mark the same points on each of your tulle pieces. I use a Sharpie at the fold line, as it will be hidden by the waist band in the finished garment.
-Gather your first layer of tulle to match the marks on the waist ribbon, using your gathering method of choice. I like to use a plain old needle and thread, gathering with a running stitch and machine stitching down one quarter of the waist band as I go. I have incredibly bad luck with ruffler feet and tulle (I always end up shredding the tulle to pieces), but your mileage may vary.
-Once your first layer of tulle is stitched, repeat the gathering process with the second layer, and the third and fourth of you have them!
-Try on your tutu and check the fluffiness levels. Adjust as needed. I like getting a feline opinion. (Ozzel approves.)
-Once your tutu skirt meets your requirements for voluminous glee, cut a piece of grosgrain ribbon that is 2x the length of your waist ribbon, plus 2-3"
-Stitch the grosgrain down the inside of your previous ribbon. I make 3 rows of stitching to compress all that gathered tulle as much as possible.
-Trim any pieces of gathered tulle that are sticking up past the top edge of your grosgrain waistband.
-Take the long remaining portion of the grosgrain ribbon and fold it to the front side of the waistband to encase the original ribbon entirely. Stitch it at the top and bottom edge, folding in and extra so no raw edges show.
-Sew a series of snaps or pieces of velcro to the waistband to close your tutu. I used a scrap of snap tape I had lying in a drawer. (You should have some overlap, so you can adjust the waist slightly if needed on future wearings.)
That's it! Your tutu is fluffy and dreamy and ready for twirling - plus, it can expand if you eat too much candy corn!